ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Hub Pages to the rescue of child literacy- Check out a success story

Updated on July 23, 2012
Source

My very close friend 666 Divine is also a writer on Hub Pages. She has two truly exceptional granddaughters. The older of these kids was having quite a hard time with her reading. We were a bit surprised at this. The older child is highly intelligent and highly creative.

(She’s even considered intelligent and respected by her extraordinarily brilliant younger sister. That’s no minor achievement. The younger girl, who’s six, can turn adults into intellectual confetti with a few words and has a mind which makes a bear trap look like a pathetic attempt at a mousetrap.)

We were therefore worried at this rather odd lack of reading skills. 666 Divine tried a reading exercise, and the older girl was really suffering. She didn’t like reading. She didn’t want to read. She went looking for excuses not to read. This is a kid with an incredible imagination who can get 100% on her French Dictat and who loves stories and compulsively makes picture stories. So why not read them?

666 Divine has extraordinary grandchildren, but she’s also an extraordinary grandmother. With true grandmotherly love and grandmotherly cunning, she asked:

“Why not write your own story, then?”

Bingo.

The older girl produced what turned progressively into a torrent of words and ideas, which you can see on 666 Divine’s Hub, An Anxious Move for a Child.

You’ll notice that where Chapters 1 through 3 are a bit tentative, Chapter 4 lets go with an unstoppable roar of ideas and fluency. This is the older girl we know and love, cutting loose with her storyline. The story also deals with her feelings about a particular issue, as explained on the Hub.

The next day, 666 Divine rang her granddaughter and said, “I’ve put your story on Hub Pages!”

The girl was thrilled. Her own story, on a website. “That’s so cool!” The reaction was about 400% positive and counting.

I’ve got to know and love this kid as a truly fascinating person. She’s truly deep, by any standards, let alone those usually attributed to a child. Those three words are an ocean trying to talk.

Children’s literacy- The biggest issue on Earth

Most adults are understandably horrified by the standard of literacy in younger kids. I’ve seen an architecture student, a very bright guy indeed, stuck with a vocabulary and usage which would make a jingle writer blush. I’ve seen kids honestly trying to express themselves without a hope from their “education”.

What is wrong with the basic idea of getting kids to understand their own language?

Is there a law against it? You’d think so, from what’s coming out of the concentration camps formerly described as schools.

That’s not the only problem, by a long shot. This is a global disaster in progress. The fact is that this generation of under-10s are in a very difficult cultural and educational spot:

They’re going to be living and working online for their entire lives, unlike any generation before them and in multiple roles. They’re going to have to understand what they read in pluralized platforms and often in multiple contexts. That’s the real meaning of the word “literacy”. It’s not the ability to read. It’s the ability to understand what you read.

Consider a society which treats those with literacy weaknesses as handicapped people. Literacy problems can destroy any possibility of education before it starts. So many people are affected with literacy issues these days it’s no longer possible to put down the sheer numbers to increases in population.

The real reasons for literacy problems can vary a lot:

· Developmental issues- The brain’s hardwiring trying to catch up with learning. (Reading requires a lot of development of capabilities, and some kids really do struggle in this area.)

· Educational methods- Things like “whole reading”, that classic misnomer of “words as pictures” and lousy, lazy comprehension training like “literal meanings”, which even the old nursery rhymes didn’t use. Try taking Humpty Dumpty literally, see how far you get with understanding it.

· Garbage to read- Boring or uninteresting reading materials.

· Pedantic, One Size Fits All teaching methods- This particular atrocity is based on the strange theory that all kids are the same. That has never been, and never will be, the case.

· Confrontational school environments- Places where kids spend more time worrying about negative environmental issues than actually learning.

· Being treated like idiots because of learning issues- Ridiculed because they can’t get a grip on reading and therefore demotivated from learning to read properly.

These kids are being allowed blunder through their education and come out seriously disadvantaged at the other end. That’s not exactly a great outcome for the world, the kids, or their parents, who are paying for this slopfest with money and tears of grief and frustration.

The 666 Divine Method, explained

My friend hit the target squarely with her “Write your own story” idea. This is truly brilliant. It also follows on faithfully from the original kindergarten idea- Kids know how they want to learn, and they can teach themselves by doing.

These are the basic points:

You’ll notice that this method starts by getting the child to do exactly what they’re obviously not able to do at school- Participate in reading and writing on their own terms, safely, and without fear of consequences. No wonder the result was a non-reader producing a written story.

There’s a reward- The story is published on a website, and they can see their work for themselves. This is an achievement they can see, not a lousy, painful memory of not being able to read some trivial little text and being laughed at by other kids and in some cases truly lousy teachers as well.

The learning method is now self-driven. It has its own motivations. The brutality of a railroading system of learning is avoided and customized for the child as an individual.

Reading and writing are now fused processes- The interrelation of the two is clear, not “inflicted” on the kid. Writing is now an understood process, not a threat. It can be used without the fear of failure which can crush kids like cornflakes.

The online approach- Extending the method

The online publishing adds value, but it also provides useful training for the future. These kids will need to deal with multiple communications forms, and the sooner they become acclimatized to the combination of learning and communications, the better.

The ability to relate basic skills like reading and writing to these critical communications skills is absolutely essential for development of the reflexes of functional human beings of the future. These kids didn’t get the techno-fear of earlier generations, but without literacy, they’re at risk of something worse- techno-dysfunction. That will be the equivalent of illiteracy in its worst form in future years. They could be unemployable, and perhaps even unable to communicate with friends online. It’s a miserable possibility, and inadequate attention to literacy is going to be the cause.

The achievements of a child

Every parent and every caring human being knows how much achievements mean to a child. A kid who’s beaten a problem is a much happier, more confident kid. The kid who beats their learning issues is also a kid who’ll have fewer problems in future. They can’t be scared off. They know they can beat their problems.

Literacy is the big issue for everyone. This world can’t be operated by illiterates. Future generations must be able to read and understand, write and teach. That’s what’s at stake with children’s literacy.

Hub Pages has just published what may well be the first fully documented case of beating seriously obstructive reading difficulties in a matter of minutes. Let’s hope educators and parents get the message. This idea needs to be developed and to be used in the field to give those kids a real chance.

Kids can’t learn with the wrong methods. They can’t learn in an atmosphere of humiliation and failure. Kindergartens were designed by kids, for kids. The message then was the same message here- Give them the right tools, and they’ll learn, and learn well. These are the tools.





Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • Paul Wallis profile imageAUTHOR

      Paul Wallis 

      6 years ago from Sydney, Australia

      Thanks, Kathryn, this is an area of eternal interest to me, will check out your stuff ASAP. Glad you appreciated this story, you're exactly the reader I wanted.

    • Kathryn L Hill profile image

      Kathryn L Hill 

      6 years ago from LA

      You might be interested in my hubs. Particularly "New Direction Education, defined." I have printed yours and included it my NDE notebook. Thanks for your insights!!!

    • Paul Wallis profile imageAUTHOR

      Paul Wallis 

      6 years ago from Sydney, Australia

      My pleasure. I really can't tell you how thrilled I am that you did this and that it worked so successfully.

    • 666divine profile image

      666divine 

      6 years ago from Toronto, Ontario

      Paul, thank you for bringing attention to these important issues.

      I posted my granddaughter's story for two reasons.

      a) was to alert parents to the silent suffering some children endure while in the process of moving, in hopes that parents will be sensitive to their children's fears and insecurities. If my granddaughter's story can prevent even one other child from such suffering, then it's worth it.

      b) to encourage my granddaughter to read, which it has.

    • Paul Wallis profile imageAUTHOR

      Paul Wallis 

      6 years ago from Sydney, Australia

      Jennifer- It inspired me, too. I've been so stunned/upset by the appalling literacy of people, even those with degrees, that I've been trying to figure out a way of getting the real message of literacy through, and 666 Divine came up with this. It was like Christmas to me, particularly seeing it work so effectively. At least you can be sure that your son will appreciate the chance to do a story and do it his way, which seems to have been the winning combination for this scenario.

    • Jennifer Stone profile image

      Jennifer Stone 

      6 years ago from the Riverbank, England

      An inspiring hub! Thank you! I agree about the teaching methods in schools and the how they seem to lack the capability to teach our kids the basics in understanding what they read or taking any enjoyment out of it. I'm going to try this with my son... All the best, Jen

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)